03 May 1972 demo version take #1

[Male voice (spoken):] Bruce Springsteen, "Jazz Musician", take 1.

Well, it's Saturday night in New Jersey
And you feeling kinda wet
Now, the summer heat is getting you worried
So you try to look as innocent as you can as you sweat
And you got a woman on the other side of the law
But it ain't cool to go see her yet
Because her ex-old man's a city cop
Who thinks he's auditioning for a Dragnet
So you stand on the corner looking kinda torn
And in the Blue Light Lounge where death was born
The jazz musician blows his horn

You pop a letter to your baby in Richmond
'Cause you're feeling pretty down
She kinda small but at least she's a rich one
Well, that she needs you real bad and sometimes that's all it counts
You had a teenage band and flying hands
And oh, you was pretty big, you were pretty big in the South
But you passed out on stage and flew into a rage
When someone tried to revive you mouth to mouth
You felt a pain in your chest as you passed the crown
And in the Blue Light Lounge the lights went down
And the audience slipped silently out of town

Well, now, the atheist he burns you for laughing out loud
Because he can't understand what you're saying
And all the words out, when they, when they pushed him in the hole
Everybody knows that he, that he went out praying
Oh, now, the park is dark
But the sidewalk's bright in the line with the light of the living
Oh, and Mama can I walk you home tonight
'Cause it's a big bad city and this boy's got a love for the giving
I'm stranded in the jungle
First stage witness at a company killing
I'm clutching my high school diploma, shuffling my feet
Promised me sixty bucks a week and guaranteed top billing
Well, you can live a life of love in New York
Only if you don't, if you don't love living
And I met this taxi driver who drives me around town
Whoa, telling tales of his back seat women
And out on the corner there's no room to move
'Cause everyone's trying so hard to groove
In the Blue Light Lounge the jazz musician plays the blues


The above lyrics are for the demo (first take) of JAZZ MUSICIAN that was recorded during Springsteen's first studio audition session for CBS Records. The recording took place on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios in New York City, NY. It features Springsteen solo on vocals and piano. See studio version #1 for more details about the song and the events surrounding this audition.

The 03 May 1972 Audition

Bruce Springsteen's first "formal" studio audition for CBS took place on 03 May 1972 at CBS Studios in New York City. Produced by John Hammond and engineered by Phil Giambalvo, the session consisted of 12 songs (two of them played twice, making a total of 14 tracks); session log information survives and it has been verified that the below-listed recordings encompass the complete session. This so-called "John Hammond Demo Session" was assigned the job number 79682; Hammond's voice is heard on the recording of the audition reading off the session number, "Bruce Springsteen, Columbia Pop audition, job number 79682, Mary Queen Of Arkansas, take 1".

The master Scotch magnetic tape reels from the audition were on display as part of the From Asbury Park To The Promised Land exhibition at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame And Museum in Cleveland, OH, along with boxes labeled with running orders:

On the first reel:
Mary Queen of Arkansas (see MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #1] and MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #2])
Saint in the City (see IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY)
Jazz Musician (see JAZZ MUSICIAN [take #1] and JAZZ MUSICIAN [take #2])
If I Was a Priest (see IF I WAS THE PRIEST)
Arabian Nights (see ARABIAN NIGHTS)
On the second reel:
Growin' Up (see GROWIN' UP)
Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street? (see DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?)
Two Hearts in True Waltz Time (see TWO HEARTS IN TRUE WALTZ TIME)
Street Queen (see STREET QUEEN)
Angels (see THE ANGEL)
Southern Sun (see SOUTHERN SUN)
Cowboys of the Seas (see COWBOYS OF THE SEA)

Four tracks from the "John Hammond Demo Session" that were previously officially released in other versions were included on the Tracks box set in 1998. These are: MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS [take #2], IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY, GROWIN' UP, and DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET?.

In his 2012 book E Street Shuffle: The Glory Days of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Clinton Heylin wrote that over the years Hammond would come to insist that their demo was "better than any tape Bruce has made since, because Bruce is [now] so uptight about perhaps overshadowing somebody else in the band." In 1981, he would send Springsteen a copy of the tape as a reminder of what might have been. Springsteen's response was Nebraska.

Bootleg Releases

This 03 May 1972 first take of JAZZ MUSICIAN, along with the second take from the same session (see the 03 May 1972 demo version take #2), has been circulating on a few bootleg releases, including The Early Years Volume Two (Bagel Boys Records).

Bruce Springsteen -- The Early Years Volume Two (Bagel Boys Records)
Bruce Springsteen -- The Early Years Volume Two (Bagel Boys Records)

Available Versions

List of available versions of JAZZ MUSICIAN on this website:

JAZZ MUSICIAN [Studio version #1]
JAZZ MUSICIAN [Studio version #2]
JAZZ MUSICIAN [03 May 1972 demo version take #1]
JAZZ MUSICIAN [03 May 1972 demo version take #2]

Page last updated: 10 Feb 2013